Unlike other cruciferous vegetables such as mustard greens, cauliflower or collard greens that fuse well with an array of spices and sauces, I prefer my bok choy simple. Perhaps, this has to do with how my taste buds were introduced to this slightly pungent, earthy, airy, yet, watery vegetable.
After coming home with a bag of freshly harvested baby artichokes from Palo Alto Farmer’s Market last Sunday, I was reminded that some fresh produce still remains seasonal. With year-round access to our favorite fruits and vegetables, sometimes remembering whats in and out of season can be a little challenging. Strolling through the Farmer’s market was a lovely way to reconnect with nature’s seasonal gifts, the farmers, and sunshine. While remembering that produce like fava beans, cherries, peaches, fresh peas and artichokes don’t come by daily. Seasonal produce still exist!
One thing we’ve learned from Ayurveda is to embrace the oily life. Dating back over 5, 000 years, this holistic medical system loves healthy fat–sesame, coconut to ghee. Internally and externally, Ayurveda recognizes the medicinal value of oil. From aiding detoxification to calming the nervous system. “Ayurvedic” therapies utilize oil in a wide variety of therapy to support the mind and the body. When it comes to treating the eyes, oil can be used as well. In a therapy called, netra basti. Living in the digital era, in which eyestrain is on the rise, we wanted to learn more about the benefits of netra basti. A therapy commonly recommended by Ayurveda Practitioners and Doctors in which the eyes are bathed in ghee to relieve strain and much more. So, we called upon Julie Bernier, owner of True Ayurveda in Malibu, California. A NAMA (National Ayurvedic Medical Association) certified, Ayurvedic Practitioner and Yoga Therapist, Julie chit-chatted with us about the what, when, why, how and what if’s of this ancient, time-tested, eye therapy.
Daffodils, tulips, and hyacinth are popping up in backyards, street beds and random corners of neighborhoods. With their sparks of color, these flowering bulbs are a reminder that spring is upon us—and so is pollen! From the lens of Ayurveda, the body’s response to the seasonal shift can be indicative of the diet and lifestyle choices made in the prior season. What we did or did not do, ate or did not eat, or drank or did not drink in the winter can play a role in how the immune system will respond in the spring. Ayurveda & Spring Ayurveda refers to spring as kapha season. Kapha translates to “stick together”. Giving us insight into the qualities of this dosha—cold, sticky, heavy, slow and wet. After a dry winter season, kapha qualities bring balance to the environment. An increase in rainfall adds moisture to the air and soil. While more sun hours transforms snow into water and warms-up the earth. Inspiring hibernating bulbs to bloom. As the season shifts from winter to spring, the body, mind, …
You say sesame seeds, and I say my nana (maternal grandfather) and his blazer pocket. The three are forever synonymous in my mind. They go together like sesame seeds melded together with honey— remember the little rectangular “candies” wrapped in rice paper and twisted in clear plastic. They were always stashed in my Nana’s navy blazer. Each one slightly tacky and perfectly gooey from traveling on his day-long adventures. Even into my adult years, out came the little one bite wonders from his navy blazer. The treat never grew old. Just gooier and gooier between my teeth. When I formally started studying Ayurveda, sesame seeds took on a whole new light. What was once associated with “Nana candy”, was now seen as nourishing and detoxifying food for the body and mind. In class, if we weren’t talking about how to cook with them we were talking about using their oil in treatments for the skin, mouth, throat, nose, and ears. I quickly learned how revered these tiny seeds were in Ayurveda. Touted for their not only for their …
In a couple weeks, here in the U.S., it will we will be time for the Fall Harvest Feast. A holiday that brings people together to share a meal, laugh, and reconnect with loved ones. It’s also a time to recognize and be grateful for all the gifts we have in our lives. While it can be a joyous day, it can also be one of overindulgence. A day in which we tend to please our emotions and often tune out the needs of our body. Transforming active, joyous energy to lethargy. How do we walk away from the table feeling mentally and emotionally happy while our body still feels energetic? With room to digest the nourishment it just received. One practice is connecting the mind and the emotions with the body through actively engaging the five senses. Using our senses to direct our mind and emotions towards love and appreciation. If we do this prior to taking the first bite, it can help bring us into the moment. Focusing our attention towards the gift of a meal and helping to prevent mindless eating. The practice also helps prepares …
Roses are summertime’s queen of the floral court. A sniff of her petals and she’ll have you wrapped in bliss with her sweet, intoxicating aroma. Feeling grounded, calm and cool even on the hottest of summer days. When pitta (fire + water) dosha is at its peak, roses are the aromatic elixir to balance the lower quality flames. From emotional outbursts, anxiety, to heat-related pitta headaches, roses cooling energy and sweet aroma is medicine for the spirit. Awakening loving, compassionate and peaceful vibrations to support a mind-body balance. In Ayurveda, aroma (to smell) is connected to the grounding earth element. Even on the hottest of days, when it’s hard to move, think or breathe deep, aroma grabs ahold of attention. A compelling scent can vie one to sniff and sniff again. Encouraging the breath to become longer and deeper. Deep breath then activates the circulation of stagnated air within the body. Helping to release pent-up tension and bring forth a moment of calm.
It’s time to fall out of autumn and leap into spring! Soon, flowers will be blossoming to express the new season. A gentle, quarterly reminder from Mother Nature to start shifting lifestyle choices and harmonize with her spring energy. Generating heat and movement internally will support balancing the cold, wet and heavy qualities she exudes in the spring. While helping to prevent common spring imbalances such as congestion, sluggishness and stiffness. A natural antidote for producing internal warmth to break-up and move stagnation within the body are heating spices. The intoxicating flavors and aromas will lure the cook. While their medicinal magic will bless the meal with the ability to heal. Generally speaking, all spices can be enjoyed year round, simply by adjusting their quantity according to the season. Ayurveda, determines the seasonal recommendations based the spices’ inherent cooling or heating energy. Spices which foster heat, are recommended in the cold season—winter into early spring. The heat warms the cold and dries the wet qualities. Lightening up congestion not just in the chest but also in the gut. Helping to balance the …
Each spring the festival of Holi is celebrated in India. It signifies the welcoming of the harvest season, as well as new beginnings in our relationships and lives. Colored powder and water are tossed through the air. Everyone wears old clothes they don’t mind getting splashed on. No one walks away untainted or without a hue of vividness on their faces. It’s a scene of laughter and joy, as friends and strangers alike gather in the start of a literally and figuratively, new season. What a beautiful way to remind us that we always can make a fresh start. Here in the West, some of us have our annual spring cleaning to help us remove the clutter accumulated in our households over the winter hibernation months. It, too, signifies a new beginning. Not only does clearing our spaces create more physical room, but it also helps us to mentally prepare and embrace positive change. Below are three steps to creating your own spring cleaning ritual:
Seasonal Love Letters: Summer professes love to Okra Hi Summer! Hi Okra! So nice to see that you are becoming more popular and available in an array of markets! Looks like your lubricating slime is less of an issue. People are seeing you for who you really are. A cool, sweet tasting, moisturizing softy. You are all about providing friendly bacteria, coating the digestive track and relieving constipation (which I know is one of my side effects)—yay! I love how I harmonize with your astringent taste. The earth and air elements of this taste make you heavy, yet light—filling and yet, energizing. It’s more fun to frolic under the sunlight and enjoy my warm nights without the hangry.
Seasonal Love Letters: Spring professes love to Asparagus Hi Spring! Hi Asparagus! You’re looking so lovely in the market these days. With your slightly sweet and slender stalks—it’s hard to resist picking you up! Your timing couldn’t be more perfect. With your astringent taste, you help remove the excess water that has accumulated in the body from the past season. Thanks for helping to detoxify, being a great source of folic acid, and helping remove heat from the body.
Lentils are a rich source of fiber, protein, and minerals, but as nutritious as they are, lentils are a gas (vata) producing food. Not fun for the digestive process and for those with vata imbalances. According to Ayurveda, healthy digestion is essential for good health. If we are unable to digest, we’re likely in-digesting. Over time, indigestion can lead to the accumulation of ama or toxins. Eventually, this build-up can lead to disease. To prevent ama or toxins, one thing we can do is ensure our food, in this case, lentils, are digestion-friendly. Lentils are astringent in taste and are primarily comprised of air + earth. The combination of these two elements makes lentils heavy, cold and dry. However, when cooked properly and combined with digestive spices, we can reap the nutritional benefits of lentils without the digestive issues. Here are 5 tips on how to make your favorite lentil dishes digestion-friendly
This image is a mirror image taken from Ayurveda, The Science of Healing by Dr. Vasant Lad Ever wonder why one day your tongue is red and other days it has a white coating? The tongue is a wealth of knowledge. Looking at a patients tongue is common practice in Ayurveda. It can give clues on mental, emotional and physical health through its size, shape, contour, texture, surface and color. A white-coating often indicates ama or toxins (toxins) in the body related to a kapha imbalance. Suggesting an accumulation of excess mucus, heavy foods, phelgm, sugar or undigested food. Here’s 5 tips on how to prevent a white-coated tongue or help reduce the white coating:
In the fall aka vata season, when the external environment runs dry, internally, we too can become dry. Leading to imbalances such as dry skin and constipation. Constipation is when there is difficulty in, lack of, or irregularity with elimination, which can result in ama or a build up of toxins with the body. According to Ayurveda, it is a vata imbalance. Often connected to excessive dryness and cold within the colon. Constipation can also be due to not enough fiber in the diet, too much dry or crunchy foods, dehydration or a lack of good fat to name a few. If you are experiencing constipation, here are 5 tips that can help with and/or prevent constipation
Fennel—a tall, aromatic plant, often found growing wild along California’s highways. The brightly colored yellow flowers, bulb, stalk, fronds, and even the seeds of this medicinal plant are edible. Considered to be a digestive aid by many cultures, this plant is also associated with longevity and strength. Some would say, that in fennel’s ability to helps us digest, we are able to better absorb, assimilate and eliminate effectively. Enabling us to become stronger and live longer healthier lives.
Maybe the word “Kapha” (pronounced Kah-fah) has been floating aroundyour ether, you’ve seen posts, taken a “what’s my dosha” quiz, you have a kapha imbalance, or you’re curious and want to know more. Well, hopefully, this post will explain what kapha is, how to recognize its qualities, and why understanding this seasonal dosha help you stay healthier during kapha season. What is a Dosha? To understand kapha, we first need to know that it is 1 of the 3 doshas in Ayurveda, a time-tested medical system from India. Doshas are particular patterns of energy that are expressed through physical, mental, and emotional characteristics. Each dosha—vata, pitta, and kapha—are composed of 2 of the 5 elements, or pancha mahabhutas. Which are considered to be the building blocks of the universe. Ether, space, fire, earth, and water are the 5 elements, which when paired, produce the 3 doshas. Doshas surround us and exist in every cell of our body. Although we are composed of all 3 doshas, each of us has a primary and secondary dosha. Similarly, each dosha has a primary function, …
Kapha season is here! Time for saunas, movement, massages, warming spices, green veggies, and the celebration of Spring. Late winter to early summer is when kapha (earth+water) season dominates the air. Cold temperatures have settled in and wetness from snow or rain are on the rise (we hope so in California). As the season shifts from Vata time (cold+dry) into kapha time (cold+wet), a time to shift our diet and behaviors to live with the season and maintain a healthy balance.
Read about the health benefits of cumin, why its a great spice to counter balance heating foods, and how to incorporate it into your next meal
As the weather begins to transition from winter to spring, cold to warmer, wet to wetter, maintaining a healthy balance can be challenging. The unpredictable changes in temperature are common during the Kapha season resulting in a cold, the flu or just feeling sluggish. There are many things we can do to help us during this time like increase our vitamin C intake, take shots of echinacea, oregano oil, and many more.
A carminative spice is one that relieves gas or flatulence from the body. Yes, and ironically they are some of the most aromatic spices in your pantry. The ones that entice your appetite and release a feel good emotion because they smell so good.
Read about the great health benefits of black pepper of this staple spice and how to use it in your next meal.
Read about the wonderful health benefits of this aromatic and delicious spice and how to bring it into your daily life.
In Ayurveda, this time of the year is known as the Vata season. Vata, the king of doshas governs all movement in the body from blood to waste and is also connected to our nervous system…